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US "Junk Silver" bags


Finn235
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I have been toying for some time with the idea of purchasing a bag of "junk silver" dimes/quarters; mostly as a silver investment, but also for the fun of searching through the bags. I am sure that at least somebody on this site is familiar with bags like these, so I had several questions to help myself decide whether or not to make the $500-1,000 commitment.

 

First off, I understand that the odds of finding anything "real" ('49-S Roosie or '32-D Wash) are virtually nil. That being said, is there a decent chance of at least putting together a wide variety of dates from these bags, or can you expect the majority of the bags to be '64 coins?

 

Also, several members of my family have made transactions with the Northwest Territorial Mint corporation and have been very satisfied with the quality of the silver (they bought bars and rounds; not coins). I have confidence in that company, but they are primarily a bulk-transaction company; the smallest bag of junk silver you can order from them is $100 face for about $1,400. I have noticed a number of private collectors who have put just a few rolls on eBay for a very reasonable price. I found an auction on 120 war nickels for about 85% of spot. Can I trust these private collectors, or would I just run a high risk of getting coins in poor condition (or even clad coins mixed in)?

 

And finally, is there any particular denomination that yields the best results? I'm not particularly interested in silver dollars or foreign coins, since it's harder to find a reliable market for those if I ever needed to get my hands on some cash quickly. Half dollars in general seem to be more expensive to purchase, given the amount of silver in each coin and that at least some silver half dollars will probably be Franklin halves. So that leaves the question... Quarters, dimes, or war nickels?

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In my opinion, 90% junk silver is probably the most efficient way to buy silver since the premiums to melt are often the lowest compared with silver eagles or bars. That said, most of the time you are at the mercy of whatever the dealer has in stock, sometimes that means entire bags of BU 64 quarters, or mixed bags of silver roosevelts with a few mercury dimes mixed in. Back when I started buying, they still had a lot of barber coins in the 90% bins, but today not as much. You're probably right on the odds of finding a 32-D quarter, but I think you might be surprised on the Roosevelts, since they are seldom collected, nobody bothers to pick out key dates that might sell for $2 instead of $1.40, if they can find anyone that wants one. So dimes might be a fun way to go.

 

The one thing I would avoid however is the silver war nickels, simply because they trade so differently that many collectors and bullion investors find them bothersome. See, 90% silver all sells at a percent of face, so today it's 14x face, whether you want dimes, quarters or halves. Because silver war nickels have so much more silver in them than their face value (nearly as much as a silver dime), they trade at a whole different value, so when 90% is at 14x face, war nickels might be at 22x face, which gets confusing so people tend to stay away.

 

Just my opinion, and worth what you paid for it, so good luck!

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I wouldn't expect to find anything good in junk silver bags nowadays, but as JTRYKA has pointed out back in the day you could. Back in the mid 1990's when silver hit lows into the $4.50 range I bought it like it like crazy- I being cheap took mostly dimes and actually found some semi-key dates and some AU and BU late date Mercs. I also got Barber coins, the earliest was an 1892. They are all still around, buried somewhere since my collection is like a roach motel - coins check in but not out. I did save the best of the dimes and put them in Whitman folders and completed them save the '16-D which I guess I will never own because I frankly don't care too much about American coins. It has been quite awhile, maybe since silver was like $6.50 since I have bought any. Actually over the long term I have done well on it.

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It's tempting to buy silver this way. I've purchased rolls of dimes from some folks that I know and trust. I've always been pleased the the results. Back a long time ago I used to purchase rolls of silver dollars to cherry pick. Overall I'd make out fairly well doing that but I don't think there's any such luck today.

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When buying 90%, expect anything. Last time I sold some, there was everything from poor/fair Barber up to BU 1964.

 

I would hope that you wouldn't get worse case scenario (lots of well worn 50s and 60s quarters and dimes), but it'll all luck of the draw.

 

Personally, I'm a fan of collector-to-collector stuff.

 

As for ebay - if item not as described, ebay/paypal disputes are easy to work with (for the buyer).

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http://cgi.ebay.com/Roll-50-1949-S-Silver-...s_US_Individual

 

I was just looking through ebay, and found this. If these are all genuine 1949-S dimes, the asking price should be over $600 at least; not $65! I suppose this is what makes me weary of ebay transactions. Something just doesn't seem right here.

 

???

 

This is a roll of circulated 1949S dimes. If I'm not mistaken, they're a better date but still not worth close to $12 to as you suggest ($600 = 50 x $12)

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